Are you still using old-fashioned bars of soap in your bathroom or kitchen? Frustrated with the slimy mess, they leave in the soap dish? Or maybe you've been using the disposable plastic liquid-soap dispensers that your grocery store sells, and you're wondering whether there are more attractive or eco-friendlier options. Choosing a new soap dispenser is actually a fairly complex process, as there are several important factors you must take into account.
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Liquid Soap Or Foam?
Dispensers of foaming soap have a special valve that mixes air with liquid soap, resulting in a foamy lather. Many users prefer the feel of foaming soap and find it easier to rinse off their hands. However, foaming hand soap may not be as effective a germ-killer as liquid soap: not only does each pump of foam contain less detergent than a pump of liquid soap, but also the instant lather produced by a foaming pump means that many users spend less time lathering and rinsing at each handwashing.
Disposable Or Refillable?
Disposable containers are cheap and convenient to buy and use; however, each dispenser must be discarded after all its soap is used up. Over the long run, disposable soap dispensers are more expensive than refillable ones, and they cause more damage to the environment. On the other hand, it can be difficult to find refills at most grocery and retail stores; refilling some types of dispensers can be messy.
Refills: Bag, Cartridge, Or Pour?
If you choose a refillable soap dispenser, you will have three options. Small countertop dispensers and some sink-mounted ones require you to unscrew the top and pour soap directly into the container; this can be inconvenient and messy, but it is the least expensive option. Most wall-mounted dispensers have either a bag or a cartridge of liquid soap inside: to refill them, you open the dispenser, remove the empty bag or cartridge, and replace it with a full one. Bags are more effective at using all the soap in them before requiring replacement; cartridges, on the other hand, are easier and quicker to replace.
Manual (Pump) Or Automatic (Electronic) Operation?
Manual soap dispensers require you to push a button or press down on the top of a pump. They are substantially less expensive to buy than automatic dispensers, and, until recently, most homes had only manual dispensers. However, due to rising concerns about the transmission of viruses and bacteria, many homeowners are now installing automatic soap dispensers instead. The major drawback of automatic dispensers is that they run on batteries, which occasionally require replacing. Also, because most automatic soap dispensers are ultra-modern in style, it may be difficult to find one that fits your home's decor.
Countertop, Wall-Mounted, Sink-Mounted, Shower -Mounted?
Countertop soap dispensers are small and come in various styles, making them ideal for complementing bathroom or kitchen decor. Wall-mounted dispensers are mostly used in institutional settings, but some manufacturers are now adapting countertop dispensers for bathroom and kitchen walls, combining stylishness with utility. Soap dispensers mounted in the countertop next to the faucets (sink-mounted) are prevalent in higher-end kitchens and bathrooms; they can be used to dispense dish soap, hand soap, or lotion. Dispensers mounted on the walls of showers are also becoming increasingly popular.
9 Types Of Soap Dispensers
1. Pump Dispenser: Disposable, Countertop Model
Countertop pump-style soap dispensers are made of plastic and are the only disposable soap dispensers available. Although they tend to have a plain appearance, some -- such as those pictured below -- combine attractive packaging with colorful contents to create a look that complements your bathroom decor. Most of them dispense more soap than necessary with each pump, resulting in wastefulness if you're not careful.
2. Pump Dispenser: Refillable, Countertop Model
Refillable countertop pump soap dispensers are a staple in household bathrooms and kitchens. Manufactured from various materials -- plastic, glass, metal, ceramic, stone, and resin -- they come in a wide range of styles to complement the decor of any bathroom. Their price ranges from under $10 to $50 or more; but, after the initial cost of purchase. On the downside, refilling them can be messy: you must unscrew the top and pour soap from a large refill bottle into the narrow neck of the dispenser.
3. Pump Dispenser, Wall-Mounted
You can install a wall-mounted soap dispenser in a bathroom or kitchen with limited countertop space. Most wall-mounted dispensers are made of heavy-duty plastic and are quite institutional in appearance; however, more attractive options are available if you search. Unlike countertop dispensers, wall-mounted ones cannot be moved, so it can be difficult for small children to reach them if they are mounted above and at the rear of the countertop.
4. Pump Dispenser, Sink-Mounted
Dispensers mounted atop a sink base, with a cartridge or bag beneath the countertop, are most often used in kitchens to dispense dish soap; however, they can also be placed in bathrooms. This reduces the mess and clutter of plastic bottles on the countertop and adds a sophisticated, polished look to your kitchen or bathroom. Most sink-mounted dispensers have a large capacity, so they need refilling relatively infrequently. On the other hand, refilling them can be difficult, as the container hangs under the counter and must be accessed through the base cabinetry.
5. Pump Dispenser, Shower-Mounted
The shower is a popular place to install multi-compartment dispensers, reducing clutter and eliminating the problem of dropping wet, slippery plastic bottles. The three-compartment dispenser shown below holds shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Pump dispensers give you control over how much soap you use. Installation of shower-mounted dispensers is a bit tricky due to the need to waterproof the joint between the wall and the housing.
6. Electronic Dispenser, Countertop Model
The use of electronic soap dispensers in family settings is increasing dramatically as a way to avoid spreading germs among household members. This demand has led to the development of attractive dispensers sized for use in homes; however, most of them still have a sleek, ultra-modern look that can clash with traditional decor. Countertop electronic soap dispensers are readily usable by kids, convenient to refill, and provide protection against the intrahousehold spread of germs.
7. Electronic Dispenser, Wall-Mounted
Wall-mounted electronic soap dispensers save space and reduce clutter on your bathroom or kitchen countertops while providing protection against the transmission of germs. Because most of these dispensers are designed for use in businesses and institutions, it may be difficult to find one that fits in with the decor in your home. On the positive side, wall-mounted units have a larger capacity than countertop dispensers and are generally easier to refill.
8. Electronic Dispenser, Sink-Mounted
Sleek, modern kitchens and bathrooms often feature one or more sink-mounted electronic dispensers for dish soap, hand soap, and/or lotion. Sink-mounted dispensers are expensive to purchase and install, but the sophistication they add is worth the extra cost to many homeowners.
9. Electronic Dispenser, Shower-Mounted
You can mount electronic dispensers for soap, shampoo, and/or conditioner in your shower, reducing clutter and mess. Although they are more expensive than pump-style dispensers, they are gaining popularity due to their convenience and streamlined look.
Choosing the best soap dispenser for your bathroom or kitchen requires you to juggle several factors. Do you want the lower price of a manual dispenser, or the safety that comes with using an electronic one? The convenience of disposable dispensers, or the long-term savings of refillable ones? Are you willing to spend more to get the style and sophistication of a sink-mounted unit? If you've used the guidelines above to help you determine the answers to these and other questions, you're well on your way to choosing just the right soap dispenser to meet your needs!
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